NC Literary Hall of Fame



Anatomy of Medical Errors: The Patient in Room 2 by Donna Helen Crisp, JD, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC

Sigma Theta Tau International
$29.95, paperback / $28.45, e-book
ISBN: 978-1940446844
June, 2016
Nonfiction: Medicine
Available from your local bookstore or

“With unimaginable serenity, Crisp takes us on her Shakespearean journey with superb skill, startling courage, and searing introspection. Her nightmare reveals a frightening level of dysfunction in our increasingly impersonal medical system. In the words of Othello’s Desdemona: 'These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope, they do not point on me.' Those of us in medicine must not ignore this tragedy, or the heroine who survived it.”
—Byers W. Shaw Jr., MD, Professor, Department of Surgery University of Nebraska Medical Center

When a surgeon unknowingly damages the intestines of a nurse who expects to stay only one night after surgery, thus begins a chain of more tragic events, which cause the nurse to have five surgeries and stay a month, most of it in a coma on a ventilator.

When she awakens and realizes no one will tell her what happened, she embarks on a years' long journey to find the truth. Along the way, she discovers that hospitals can be very dangerous places, especially when corporate profit is valued higher than patient safety.

This book was written to inform and inspire the reader to be aware of the dysfunction that underpins many hospital organizations, especially teaching hospitals, including the silencing of the patient, provider arrogance, flawed coordination of care, poor communication, and lack of ownership for outcomes.

Donna Helen Crisp, JD, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, became a nurse in 1992 after working in social work, law, and music. After earning her BSN and MSN degrees, she became a mental health Clinical Nurse Specialist in adult psychiatry. She has worked with clients of all ages in various hospitals, longterm care facilities, clinics, homes, and private practice. Whether in the role of staff nurse, supervisor, administrator, consultant, or teacher, her nursing practice of care focuses on the person's suffering.

After teaching in the community college system for five years, Donna Helen became an assistant professor at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where she taught for six years in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Her nursing research has focused on chronic illness, suffering, quality of life, advance directives, ethical decision-making, and forgiveness. She has taught on these topics at numerous conferences. Her abiding passion continues to focus on the recognition and amelioration of suffering, wherever it exists. She currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she works as a nurse and writes about nursing.

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